QUAIFE-HOBBS BRINGS 2007 SEASON TO A CLOSE IN SPAIN
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs brought his 2007 season to a close at the final round of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship in Barcelona this weekend. The MSA British Race Elite/BRDC Rising Star has contested just a handful of Formula Renault races in preparation for next season and has regularly impressed the regulars in both the Eurocup and North European championship.
With the aim of using the additional outings for valuable experience after his 2007 FBMW campaign finished, the Tonbridge teenager has always been on the back foot, competing with far more experienced drivers and racing on brand new tracks. However, with some good results already under his belt Adrian headed out to Spain looking to reproduce the form that has previously led to a podium finish and third quickest time in the race.
The 16 year-old rookie driving for BVM Minardi, ventured out onto the track for Friday's two 45 minutes test sessions hoping for a repeat of the performance last time out at Estoril which saw him post the fourth quickest time. This time, though, on his first ever visit to the spectacular Spanish circuit; he could only manage the 27th and 28th quickest time ahead of Saturday's crucial qualifying session.
""After spending most of the first test in the pits due to red flags, I only really had the second session to learn the track, which I did in the first half, then in the second half, I had to just go for it but the car didn't handle right. I think part of the problem for me here was that again, this is a brand new track that I've never seen before, whereas the other drivers have all used it regularly for winter testing and of course the two official test days earlier in the year", said Adrian.
The youngster, who just six weeks earlier had completed his 2007 Formula BMW Championship campaign, has quickly settled into the FRenault car and next season looks set to contest either the British or European championship. And, for the former double T-Cars Champion this weekend saw him once again improve over the course of the weekend leaving him in confident mood ahead of 2008.
Qualifying saw him post the 24th quickest lap for both races which would see him line up on the 12th row for the two 16-lappers held over the weekend. The weekend's first race saw him make a superb start, passing several cars into the first corner, before he was pushed wide on the entry to turn three and onto marbles, dropping him down to 37th and dead last. A superb recovery over the remaining 15 laps though saw him claw his way through the field, passing several cars to gain ten places and cross the line 27th.
Race two held on Sunday, again saw a good getaway overtaking three cars off the line, before he was pushed out to the outside and lost the places again. Despite that, another determined drive, despite a few handling problems which saw his tyres go off four laps from home, saw him move up through the field, eventually finishing 20th.
"I only entered these last races for additional experience and testing in preparation for 2008. The trouble is as soon as you get good results like podium finishes, fourth in testing, third quickest race laps, well you want it all the time. And that never happens in motor racing at any level. But I'm glad I went to Barcelona, despite not getting in the points, all track time is valuable and every test, qualifying and race I do gives me valuable track time. I'm improving every time throughout the course of every weekend, and there's definitely more to come."